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Published October 23, 2023

What could possibly follow up The Big House? In most years, the answer was usually Smash Summit and, if we were lucky, one or two other majors that would happen a month later. This year, without Summit, we don’t have a clear cut answer. That seems especially concerning at a time in which both Zain and The Big House 11 winner Cody Schwab – arguably off the greatest loser’s bracket run of all-time – are tied, one to one, for the annual major count.

The truth is, even if the two never play again this year, the true Meleeheads will have a lot to look forward to. In today’s column, I’m going to be breaking down what else is happening in the year and trying to convince you why you should care.

Luminosity’s Make Moves Miami
Date(s): October 27-29

South Florida has never had an event this notable, and it has all the hallmarks of your typical “stacked regional.” At the moment, there are invading Top 50 players (Zuppy, Salt, Zamu, Chem, and Mekk) going up against state talent (Wevans and Panda) and local legends (MOF and Voo) alike. I can’t really tell who’ll win this event. In a sense, that’s what makes it all the more exciting. In fact, it might apply even more for its “Arcadian” side event.

You read that correctly. In addition to there being a main Melee bracket, there will also be an Arcadian bracket in which the only allowed players are people who weren’t ranked in the summer Top 50. Without any kind of presumed integration between these two brackets (such as maybe floating the Top 50 players into a final phase of the bracket and treating the earlier portion of the event as an Arcadian), I have to say though: this doesn’t make any sense to me.

Without any changes to the rules, I can’t help but wonder if this would lead to say, Zuppy winning the main bracket, but a suddenly present Wizzrobe winning the Arcadian event. Nonetheless, I am curious to see how this event turns out. South Florida is a region that doesn’t really get much attention. Come to think of it, it’s kind of like the Florida of Florida.

Saving Mr. Lombardi 4
Date(s): November 4 

Name a more iconic duo than SoCal and super regionals. From the days of Zero Challenge to Kings of Cali to Super Smash Sundays to Pat’s House to Saving Mr. Lombardi, this region’s history is filled to the brim with tournaments which casually feature multiple Top 25 players. The latest edition of Saving Mr. Lombardi seems to follow in the path of its predecessors that way.

What makes this particular event especially interesting is that it’s set to combine the “Verdugo” part of SoCal and the San Diego region. Representing the former in attendance are Fiction, whose local prowess is the stuff of legends and all the solid players who aren’t Fiction (Zeo, salami, and cliché so far). Representing the latter are a trio of instantly recognizable players: KoDoRiN, Khalid, and Franz. Even NorCal is present, if Umarth’s presence here means anything.

As it stands, the event is fairly small. But though I wouldn’t expect players like Mango, Hungrybox, or Jmook to be present, there’s a decent chance that this could become a bigger West Coast event – maybe even one where Arizona or Colorado players show up. If that happened, SoCal could suddenly have a very large tournament.

Out of the Blue 2
Date(s): November 4 

Out of Blue already happened this year, and it instantly became a hit within the Midwest. It was all but assured that it was going to have a sequel, and now we know it’s going to happen. While many Midwest regionals tend to blend in together, this one’s undeniably distinct from the other ones due to its sheer volume of top regional talent and state representation.

Want Michigan? You’re getting Ginger, KJH, Ossify, and ckyulmiqnudaetr at this tournament. Want Chicago? There’s Skerzo, Mekk, Smash Papi, Ober, and even Kels. Meanwhile, you have all three Minnesota giants (Ben, Preeminent, and 100 Grand), and top players from Ohio (essy), Iowa (Slowking), Indiana (Blue, who has lately returned after some excellent performances in the spring and a long break), and, for whatever reason, Washington (Chango).

As far as this event is concerned, it’s the one that has the biggest claim as the ultimate Midwest regional. The only two people missing, at the moment, whose presence would put the icing on the cake for the title, are Zamu and Drephen. Regardless – this is a tournament you won’t want to miss.

The Function 3
Date(s): November 11

And now we get into one of the two possible “majors” or “almost” majors remaining on the schedule. The last two versions of The Function were undeniably regionals, but this one is definitely the most stacked iteration. A Zain, moky, or Hungrybox appearance would basically cement this tournament as one with a claim to be as stacked as really anything else remaining for the rest of the year.

As it stands though, this event is going to be stacked. You have Cody Schwab and Jmook coming in as the presumptive favorites, but you also have Aklo, the King of New York City himself coming in. Obviously, no Tristate tournament is really complete without the appearance of Nightclub VIP 2 champion Chem. SluG and Swift are making rare appearances here as well. With KoDoRiN, Magi, S2J, Fiction, and goddamn Moe in attendance, there’s plenty of out-of-region attendance too.

When it comes to the long term tournament ecosystem, it’s worth noting that this is a year in which Shine operated for the final time and when Apex didn’t come back. Assuming this holds true for the short-term future, events like Collision and The Function could start to hold more weight in the Smash community than they necessarily were expected to at the start of this year. These Tristate events are suddenly all the Northeast has for potential majors at the moment.

Arcamelee 4
Date(s): November 18

I will let you readers in on a secret: at Festa 2023, there was much attendee discussion about Arcamelee. Most people I spoke to about this event were fairly excited, but amid the thrill of Europe having another big event coming up was cynicism. One person I heard from, who I shall not name, claimed to have “no faith in the flopmerican top players.” I couldn’t argue too much, considering Cody didn’t go to Festa after attending.

On the surface though, this does seem like a major doesn’t it? If Cody, Jmook, Leffen, and moky are together at an event, that automatically makes it one. But even if all four drop – and to be clear, I fully expect at least two of them to do it – there’s still the presence of Aklo, KoDoRiN, Spark, and Trif here. Pipsqueak, a Top 25 player we haven’t seen for much of this year, will also be present, as will the rest of top players in Europe.

Sidenote: speaking as an East Coaster, I actually love watching European majors. Instead of staying up late watching Melee tournaments on the West Coast or having to spend my evenings watching them if they’re in my timezone, I get to enjoy a nice cup of coffee in the morning while enjoying my favorite game. Something about watching Melee in the morning just hits different.

Genesis: BLACK at Guildhouse
Date(s): December 2-3

Anyone remember the original Genesis: BLACK? This was the event where “Genghis Juan” notably made an appearance and made top eight. This year’s Genesis: BLACK will be held at the legendary Guildhouse venue: a video game bar. If I were not going to the actual Genesis already in February, I would want to go to this event.

As of right now, Umarth and rom are the only notable registered entrants, but I strongly doubt this will be the case. I would be shocked if this tournament did not feature all three of S2J, Shroomed, and the surprisingly absent SFAT, who hasn’t gone to enough majors to qualify for the rankings this year. I want to especially note that last part – this has basically been the first time in a decade where SFAT hasn’t been present on a national level. It’s felt like the end of an era of sorts.

His possible attendance is one of many reasons I’ll be following this event before it happens. And for what it’s worth, I have a friendly content-brained suggestion: run an old school vs. new school NorCal crew battle. I’m serious. Imagine something like Brandon, SilentSpectre, SFAT, Shroomed, and Phil vs. Umarth, rom, Azel, Kevbot, and Typhoon.

Santa Paws
Date(s): December 8 

The third of our “almost majors” is an event in Alabama. To my knowledge, it is the biggest one in the state’s history, and I have no idea how it became this big. Usually when it comes to first time home run swings from prospective events, you can expect something where there’s two or three strong out-of-region players coming to a relatively obscure state to compete for a high prize pot.

That’s surprisingly not quite the case here. It’s not just that Cody Schwab, Jmook, or Aklo will be here. KoDoRiN, Trif, Joshman, Magi, Salt, Axe, Soonsay, and Zamu will be attending as well. If you tuned into Top 16 of this event through winners’ side, it’s possible that it would look exactly like a smaller major, with similar depth. Although they’re not registered, I also wouldn’t be surprised to see big names from the Atlantic South in attendance here, such as Colbol, Panda, Gahtzu, or Krudo. Also, for some reason, Ben is here.

I spoke to skrat, the TO of this tournament, recently about his plans for the series. According to him, he wants to make this a recurring event for the Atlantic South. If this year’s event is successful, the Alabama scene could suddenly find itself becoming a new central ground for the broader region. A Zain attendance, though I’d consider it unlikely, would probably elevate this tournament to the top, as well as provide him a final opportunity to take on Cody for the title of No. 1.

DreamHack Atlanta 2023
Date(s): December 15

This is the event we know the least about, but also the one with the most recognizable name behind it. Last year, this was the event that most people knew as the Panda Cup Qualifier which Mew2King randomly showed up to and qualified through attending and beating multiple Top 50 players. I don’t think that will be the case for this year’s event, but who knows? The event attendees aren’t public yet, so the answer is probably “no one outside the event staff.”

Although I strongly doubt this tournament will be a major, at the very least, it’s probably going to have similar representation from the South as Santa Paws. Because it’s the weekend after, I doubt it will be anywhere near as big. Then again, until we know exactly who’s attending, all we can do is speculate for this one.

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